National standard to help reduce risk of perineal trauma at birth                                                                                    21 April 2021

Today’s launch of a new national standard of care for serious tears of the perineum, which are experienced by some women during childbirth, marks an important day for women’s health in Australia.

The Third and Fourth Degree Perineal Tears Clinical Care Standard was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, in consultation with consumers and health professionals working in maternity care.

Perineal tears are common among women giving birth in Australia. While most perineal tears heal well, some women experience more serious tears that can have significant physical and psychological impact.

The new standard will help to reduce the risk of a serious tear and ensure that women receive appropriate treatment and support throughout their birthing experience.

Experts in midwifery, obstetrics and physiotherapy will discuss the importance of informing women and keeping them at the centre of decisions about their care, how to reduce the risk of a third or fourth degree perineal tear during pregnancy and labour, and how to help women recover from a tear through good follow-up care.

Download a copy: Third and Fourth Degree Perineal Tears Clinical Care Standard

Media release: Australian women to benefit from national standard to reduce perineal trauma at birth

Access resources: Information, fact sheets and videos for consumers and clinicians

Please share this information with anyone in your network who has a special interest in women’s health, maternity care or childbirth.

For more information, visit the Third and Fourth Degree Perineal Tears page on the Commission’s website or email